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The March to Hell
As the rebellion raged with all its might, the EIC showed their prowess equally. On 17th May 1857, the Delhi Field Force advanced from Ambala to put an end to the rebellion.

Happened on 17th May 1857

As I am writing this now, I am currently residing in my safe haven. England's countryside is really bliss, especially if you have spent the youth of your life fighting wars for the sake and will of others. My time in India wasn't driven by the quest for the holy, as so many of my countrymen are driven by now, but was ignited by the sparks of a rebellion and propelled by the whims of the Company. A rebellion, a mutiny that erupted like hot lava at different points in the country engulfed the whole of British India and along with it the rest of us. Dreadful...1857 was going to be a hellish affair.

The fiery month of May. It was again that time of scorching summer heat in the Indian mainlands. To escape from it, we had travelled to the hill station of Shimla. Along with us were the European units of the Bengal army. Looking back, it was one of those calm before the war. A pleasant and worthwhile time spent in the Himalayas! Little did we know that soon we will be jolted into action and what was to come before us.

Rumours of a rebellion soon began to spread. One of those local chaiwallahs told me how mutinies had erupted out at different places and hundreds of them had seized Delhi. “Meerut…Dilli…guns…mutiny,” he told me in his broken English. I knew trouble was near and my days at the hills of Shimla were soon coming to an end. The suddenness of it all began to take shape as our Commander-in-Chief, General Anson grew restless with each passing day. He, who was disgusted by the “unsoldierlike appearance” of Indian soldiers had something to fear. It was going to be a bloody massacre.

The next few days passed away in a haze. It was chaos all around. The General was in a hurry and in a matter of few days gathered around 4000 soldiers. I too could not escape the need of the hour and we were all collected like shipments from a prized land. News had already arrived that three regiments of the Meerut infantry and cavalry had already seized Delhi. These Indians can never remain quiet, do they?

Although we were a little short on supplies and transportation seemed to be a concerning issue, we were still a mighty team. Ambala it was, where we gathered around. Our brothers in arm from Meerut were also going to march forward.

Dilli” as the local says was soon going to be ours. Karnal, a small town north of Delhi was going to be our first destination. We were going to go down in history as the mighty Delhi Field Force. 17th May 1857 was the historic day and in all glory, we started our advance towards Delhi. The green fields of Ambala were left far behind. The army began its march and the Earth shuddered in horror.

Kaushiky Hazra Author
Last seen on ThisDay, quite some time ago.

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